Have you ever had a conversation with someone and wonder if they have heard what you said? Conversely, have you ever had a conversation with someone, and you thought you were listening but never really HEARD what they said? Did you realize that there is a difference between listening and hearing?  

The dictionary defines hearing as the “process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically: the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.” On the other hand, listening means “to pay attention to sound; to hear something with thoughtful attention; to give consideration.”

If you find your mind wandering when you are involved in a conversation with someone or following h a webinar or zoom meeting, try these tips to ensure you actively listen vs. just hearing what someone is saying.

Keep eye contact or eyes on the person with whom you are engaging.
Show your engagement by nodding or gesturing during the information.
Be present at the moment.
Repeat back the information provided.
Only hold one conversation at a time.
Practice patience by holding your thoughts and not necessarily be ready to respond.

Effectively listening to another person can provide satisfaction for both you and the person speaking. It can validate for the individual that you took time to give your full attention and provide you with the peace of mind that you are actively collecting important information that you can perhaps use in the future.

Rebecca Herrmann, RDN, LDN

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